Stress Management and how Exercise and Pilates can help - Article for Magazine health and well being section.
Many of us have stress in our lives whether it is with relationships, difficult work experiences or just the pace of life in general using London as a example. We are so used to trying to juggle work, relationships, children etc etc and be fit and healthy as well.
I have seen many clients wanting to lose weight and they are making a huge effort with exercise but not seeing any results. Often those people are the ones with very stressful lifestyles and the stress hormones flying around our bodies, there is no wonder it can be a challenge for some to get to their desired body weight if this is their aim. Also, the comfort eating that can possibly go with the stress we experience or the tiredness and lack of sleep are all contributors to us having a not so healthy life and feeling of well being. Some people go the other way when they have trauma in their life and can't eat and lose weight, all of which is obviously not helping us having well being and balance. So this is why it is obviously a good idea to look at ways of being able to manage stress, keeping our body in balance and having tools to use when life feels like it is getting really tough!
The first challenge is getting started if you haven't already. January time is the perfect time to start with all the other new years resolutions but to make sure they stick, it takes 21 days to form a habit. I highly recommend to start with just setting 20mins a day without fail for 21 days of the type of exercise you really enjoy most. Whether this is Pilates combined with flowing movement or going for a power walk/run or swimming. As long as you commit that time for 21 days is the most important thing. If you want to do longer that's really great but 20minutes is the minimum. The reason for this is that we often feel overwhelmed with the thought of not having enough time, or not feeling motivated or if we are feeling really down, its hard to get started. So we need to make the goals manageable and realistic. Once you have formed your habit doing the exercise for 21 days you are more likely to continue this and set out a routine.
Doing 20 minutes of exercise daily or 3xs a week is all you need to see results in your body and how you feel. When we exercise we release feel good hormones (endorphins) which help us with our energy, happiness and also help relax us. The opposite to what stress hormone(cortisol) does! When we feel good in ourselves and with energy and calmness is it so much easier to deal with life situations and gives us a focus for ourselves.
Setting time for yourself to exercise also will help with your confidence. We are valuing ourselves, giving ourselves this time and seeing aesthetically pleasing differences in our appearance. This will motivate you to continue. I recommend taking measurements for yourself monthly to see what results you are achieving, as the scales do not always show the amount of inches you are losing! Also, I get my clients to fill out a wellness wheel and set monthly goals to help them make small changes, that for them, will help them feel happier, healthier and get results you want.
Muscle weighs more than fat after all. Doing Pilates especially will help with inch loss and all my clients who stick to a daily programme for the first 5 weeks, all see inches drop off! As well as feeling calm and able to cope with situations better. Some will see their body totally transform. Walking taller, feeling slimmer, stronger, being more relaxed from the deep breathing, just to mention a few benefits!
When we have stress in our bodies and minds, we hold on to tension in our muscles and don't realise how tight everything is until its released! Hence, why some peoples shoulders feel up to their ears, they have back ache etc etc. So Pilates will definitely help counteract this and help you stretch out and release all that stored up tension that stress can create. Everything is energy, including stress so you have to shift that energy and move to release it and let go. I have a ten minute u tube clip for you to help you stretch out daily on my charity and media page on my website. We also have a ten minute abdominal blitz for strength and tone. http://www.pilatespluswellness.com/charity_media.html
I highly recommend coming to a class if you have not done Pilates before so you know you are doing the exercises correctly. www.pilatespluswellness.com for further details of classes running in Balham, Northcote road and Abbeville road - Clapham.
As well as Pilates, doing weights, power walking, running all help increase our heart rate and keep us fit and burning unwanted calories as well. The more muscle we have in our body the more efficiently we burn fat due to our metabolism being more efficient and working at a staying at a higher rate throughout the day due to the exercise we have done. As well as this, you will have more energy for your day or if you are exercising at the end of the day you will feel more relaxed and able to sleep better. Everyone is different so the time of day you exercise needs to fit in with what works best with your schedule and what feels best for you? The important factor is you do it! The value of being able to sleep better if you are experiencing stress in your life, would be quite high I am guessing! If you need help with a fitness routine to do for yourself, please do contact me as I have a team of personal trainers and pilates teachers combined, who can help you with your individual goals as well as help motivate you. We also have many classes you can attend which are pilates and fitness combined as well as other styles depending on your needs.
If you have a day where everything has been too much, even just focusing on breathing deeply in through your nose, expanding your ribcage and breathing down to your abdomen. Breathing out through your mouth and just focusing on your breath will be a great stress release if nothing else. Many clients often feel amazing after a class simply from the breathing and focus on their body and breath. So if all else fails, just do this for your stress management for ten or twenty minutes to feel calmer more centred and grounded. Combine this with the stretches, concentration, relaxation co ordination and alignment strength and stamina Pilates can offer you, I think its definitely a good new years resolution to take up and keep :) Further information is on my website. www.pilatespluswellness.com I hope this article has been helpful and has given you some useful tips and support to help you manage stress. Happy Christmas and Happy new year! Rosa x